NBA wRap: Spurs beat Rockets, Kobe returns, Cavs lose
MANILA, Philippines – The NBA's schedule of games on Monday, December 29 had a pair of intriguing duels between Western Conference powerhouses, with the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks coming away with wins. Kobe Bryant returned to action, while LeBron James' Cavs lost again.
Detroit Pistons (7-23) 103 - 80 Cleveland Cavaliers (18-12)
DET: Brandon Jennings: 25 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds
CLE: LeBron James: 17 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists
Cleveland led by 15, 32-17, at one point in the second quarter before Detroit took over the game with a massive 20-2 run. The Pistons, who won their second straight game after waiving Josh Smith, hit a franchise-record 17 3-pointers against Cleveland, who played without Kyrie Irving (knee bruise).
Watch Detroit go bananas from downtown:
This is probably not what LBJ signed up for when he took his talents back home.
Cleveland fans booing down double digits to Detroit. Welcome home, LeBron.— Dan Le Batard Show (@LeBatardShow) December 28, 2014
Tweet of the Day:
#Cavs LeBron James: "Right now we are not very good. In every aspect of the game"— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) December 29, 2014
On the bright side for the Cavs, Shawn Marion reached a milestone no other player in NBA history has done before: https://twitter.com/NBA/status/549321058021834752
San Antonio Spurs (19-13) 110 - 106 Houston Rockets (21-8)
SAS: Danny Green: 24 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals
HOU: Dwight Howard: 24 points, 17 rebounds, 1 block
In Patty Mills' (8 points) return, the Spurs won their 10th game at home by beating the Rockets, who fell to 11-3 on the road. James Harden had 28 points and 5 assists for Houston, but threw away 9 turnovers, including this mind-boggling one that sealed his team's loss:
Josh Smith registered 5 points and 8 rebounds in his second game as a Rocket.
Dallas Mavericks (22-10) 112 - 107 Oklahoma City Thunder (15-17)
DAL: Dirk Nowitzki: 30 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks
OKC: Russell Westbrook: 18 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 steals
The Mavs beat the Thunder, but lost Monta Ellis to an injured ankle in the second half. Chandler Parsons registered 26 points and 5 rebounds in the win, while Rondo put up 15 points, 7 assists, and 6 boards. Ellis had 18 points on 6-of-20 shooting before leaving the game. Dallas played without Tyson Chandler (back spams), while the Thunder continue to play without Kevin Durant (ankle sprain).
Speaking of Parsons, he threw down an impressive breakaway dunk on the break:
Serge Ibaka played well for OKC with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and an 11-of-14 shooting display from the field. Westbrook filled the stat sheet, but shot just 6-of-23. Reggie Jackson came off the bench to provide 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Portland Trail Blazers (25-7) 101 - 79 New York Knicks (5-28)
POR: Wesley Matthews: 28 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 6 3-pointers
NYK: Cole Aldrich: 12 points, 19 rebounds, 4 steals
Portland improved to 14-2 at home while New York lost their 15th out of 17 road games this season. Carmelo Anthony had 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting in 19 minutes but sat out the second half due to soreness on his left knee.
A huge reason why Portland owns the second best record in the West right now is because of their three-point shooting, which they've been hitting consistently over the past week:
The Trail Blazers are the first NBA team to ever record 16 or more 3-pointers in three consecutive games (Dec. 23-28).— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) December 29, 2014
Matthews was converting nearly everything he threw up against the Knicks. It's impressive how far he's come since not being drafted a few years back.
Great Wes Matthews quote about not being selected on draft night. Have a column on him in the morning. pic.twitter.com/PLBZqUAzUH— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) December 29, 2014
Toronto Raptors (24-7) 116 - 102 Denver Nuggets (13-18)
TOR: Kyle Lowry: 30 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds
DEN: Ty Lawson: 28 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds
The East-leading Raptors improved to 10-4 on the road by beating Denver. Louis Williams came off the bench to score 31 points and grab 5 rebounds. Psycho T came off the bench to posterize JJ Hickson:
Phoenix Suns (18-14) 116 - 107 Los Angeles Lakers (9-22)
PHX: Eric Bledsoe: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals
LAL: Jeremy Lin: 19 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists
Kobe Bryant returned from a three-game absence and put up 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists while going 4-of-10 from the field, but LA still lost their third straight game to Phoenix, who has won their last 6 contests.
Fantasy line of the day: Eric Bledsoe continues to make his fantasy owners happy with 22 points (7-of-19 from the field, 1-of-3 from downtown, 7-of-7 from the FT line), 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, and a block against the Lakers. He also had 3 turnovers.